thumb|The Polish alphabet. Grey indicates letters not used in native words.
The Polish alphabet is the script
of the Polish language
, the basis for the Polish system of orthography
. It is based on the Latin alphabet
but includes certain letters with diacritic
s: the ''kreska'' or acute accent
(''ć'', ''ń'', ''ó'', ''ś'', ''ź''); the overdot
or ''kropka'' (''ż''); the tail or ''ogonek
'' (''ą'', ''ę''); and the stroke
(''ł''). The letters ''q'', ''v'' and ''x'', which are used only in foreign words, are usually absent from the Polish alphabet. However, prior to the standardization of the Polish language, the letter "x" was sometimes used in place of "ks".
Modified variations of the Polish alphabet are used for writing Silesian
, whereas the Sorbian languages
use a mixture of the Polish and Czech orthographies
There are 32 letters in the Polish alphabet: 9 vowel
s and 23 consonant
The letters ''q'', ''v'', and ''x'' are used in some foreign words and commercial names, in loanword
s are often replaced by ''kw'', ''w'', and ''ks'', respectively (as in ''kwarc'' "quartz", ''weranda'' "veranda", ''ekstra'' "extra", some words use in equal both versions of writing style, as ''veto'' or ''weto'', ''volt'' or ''wolt'', ''video'' or ''wideo'', ''xero'' or ''ksero'') and they take their usual positions in the Latin alphabet
, so they are sometimes considered as a part of Polish alphabet and enlarge number of letters to 35.
The following table lists the letters of the alphabet, their Polish names (see also Names of letters
below), the Polish phonemes
which they usually represent, rough English (or other) equivalents to the sounds of those phonemes, and other possible pronunciations. Diacritics are shown for the sake of clarity. For more information about the sounds, see Polish phonology
: Sequences may be pronounced as geminate
: is sometimes transcribed phonetically
as , though it is phonetically .
'' is a historical letter for native words prior to the 1891 spelling reform by the Academy of Learning
, e.g. ''cztéry'', ''papiéż'' (now ''cztery'' "four", ''papież'' "pope").
and other rules about spelling and the corresponding pronunciations, see Polish orthography
Names of letters
The spoken Polish names of the letters are given in the table under Letters
The names of the letters are not normally written out in the way shown above, except as part of certain lexicalized abbreviations, such as Pekao
(or PeKaO), the name of a bank, which represents the spoken form of the abbreviation P.K.O. (for ''Polska Kasa Opieki'').
Some letters may be referred to in alternative ways, often consisting of just the sound of the letter. For example, Y may be called ''y'' rather than ''igrek'' (from "Greek i
When giving the spelling of words, certain letters may be said in more emphatic ways to distinguish them from other identically pronounced characters. For example, H may be referred to as ''samo ha'' ("H alone") to distinguish it from CH ''(ce ha)''. The letter Ż may be called ''żet'' (or ''zet'') ''zet z kropką'' ("Z with a dot") to distinguish it from RZ ''(er zet)''. The letter U may be called ''u otwarte'' ("open U", a reference to its graphical form), to distinguish it from Ó, which is sometimes called ''u zamknięte'' ("closed U") or ''o kreskowane'' / ''o z kreską'' ("dashed O").
Polish alphabetical ordering
uses the order of letters as in the table under Letters
Note that (unlike in languages such as French
, and German
) Polish letters with diacritic
s are treated as fully independent letters in alphabetical ordering. For example, ''być'' comes after ''bycie''. The diacritic letters also have their own sections in dictionaries (words beginning with ''ć'' are not usually listed under ''c'').
Digraphs are not given any special treatment in alphabetical ordering. For example, ''ch'' is treated simply as ''c'' followed by ''h'', and not as a single letter as in Czech
There are several systems for encoding
the Polish alphabet for computers. All letters of the Polish alphabet are included in Unicode
, and thus Unicode-based encodings such as UTF-8
can be used. The Polish alphabet is completely included in the Basic Multilingual Plane
of Unicode. The standard 8-bit character encoding for the Polish alphabet is ISO 8859-2
(Latin-2), although both ISO 8859-13
(Latin-7) and ISO 8859-16
(Latin-10) encodings include glyphs of the Polish alphabet. Microsoft's format for encoding the Polish alphabet is Windows-1250
The Polish letters which are not present in the English alphabet
have the following HTML
codes and Unicode
For other encodings, see Polish code pages
, but also Combining Diacritical Marks
A common test sentence containing all the Polish diacritic letters is the nonsensical ''Zażółć gęślą jaźń'' ("Yellow the ego with/of a gusle
*Polish manual alphabet
External linksPolish Pronunciation Audio and Grammar ChartsOnline editor for typing Polish charactersLearn to pronounce the Polish alphabetA Foreigner's Guide to the Polish Alphabet
interactive listen-along guide from Culture.pl